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January 1, 2011
Some columns sway with the wind; some columns sway with the waves. In fact, hundreds of columns now reside offshore, on platforms and on barges. Most dry and sweeten gases. Some distill. The trays and packing distributors of such columns are regularly, appreciably out of level. Sloshing occurs. The packings are regularly, appreciably off vertical. Some of what we know about the design of such columns...
January 1, 2011
Questions of CE history I was digging through some old files in my office and came across a February 5, 1962 publication of Chemical Engineering. It’s in good condition and I have now framed it and placed it on my wall in my office. Kinda neat. I was curious to know when was Chemical Engineering’s first publication and which number the one I have might be. — David Naydyhor ICL Performance...
January 1, 2011
The range of synthetic biology tools available for manipulating microbial metabolic pathways has expanded significantly in the past decade, opening new routes to chemical products. But the development challenges associated with strain development, as well as scaling up effective fermentation processes remain. Companies manufacturing biofuels, bio-based chemical intermediates, natural products and...
January 1, 2011
 Figure 1. Experts anticipate the new EPA standards regarding SO2 will likely increase capital and engineering costs SOLVAir Solutions Last June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; Washington, D.C.) strengthened the primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard for sulfur dioxide by establishing a new one-hour standard at a level of 75 parts per billion (ppb). Previous primary...
January 1, 2011
A complete, modular system for flow chemistry      Syrris   Launched last November at the First RSC/SCI Symposium on continuous processing and flow chemistry, the Asia range of flow chemistry systems (photo) is scalable and modular. Commercially available next February, the Asia system covers wide temperature (–15 to 300°C) and pressure (0–20 bars) ranges, and safely...
January 1, 2011
      Yeghnazar        Hubbard        Allard        Dalton        Way     Clifford Johnson, formerly of NACE International, is now president of the Pipeline Research Council International (Falls Church, Va.). Andrew Yeghnazar is named president of Blacoh Fluid Control (Riverside, Calif.).   John...
January 1, 2011
  This level pressure transmitter is ideal for high-purity applications Endress+Hauser The Deltapilot FMB 70 hydrostatic, level pressure transmitter (photo) is particularly suitable for food, beverage, dairy and pharmaceutical applications. Its watertight pressure-measuring cell and 316L stainless-steel housing with polycarbonate sight glass withstand the harsh washdown environments needed in these...
January 1, 2011
Although plant safety should be a top priority every day, there are certain times when extra vigilance is needed to make sure that safety practices are being maintained. This article outlines three periods deemed to be “critical” for plant safety and specific items to pay attention to in these periods.     Three critical periods The following three phases in a production plant’s...
January 1, 2011
History is a constant reminder that accidents and catastrophic events can and do occur in process environments. As processes become more complex (for instance, allowing for greater operating temperatures and pressures to be used) and existing basic process control systems (BPCS) and safety systems age, risk reduction becomes more challenging. Regulations from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Admin...
January 1, 2011
The reboiler generally supplies most of the energy required to effect component separation. If too much heat is supplied, the tower may flood; conversely, if too little heat is available, separation performance may decrease via poor reflux ratio (pinching), excessive weeping or poor tray action. Proper design of reboiling systems involves coordinating aspects both outside and inside the tower. This article...
January 1, 2011
Plant Watch Dow to increase ethane cracking capabilities December 3, 2010 — The Dow Chemical Co. (Midland, Mich.; plans to increase ethane cracking capabilities on the U.S. Gulf Coast and improve its ethane cracking capabilities by 20–30% over the next two to three years. In addition, Dow announced it is reviewing joint venture (JV) options for building a natural gas liquids (NGL)...
January 1, 2011
Agglomeration is the process of converting fine powder particles into larger particles by the introduction of external forces. Agglomeration is often desirable because the process yields a product that has a higher bulk density, contains less dust, and has improved flowability. Figure 1 shows samples of fine potash powder and powder that has been agglomerated.  Figure 1. Fine potash powder is one...
January 1, 2011
With productivity, growth and reliability as constant drivers, the proactive evaluation of all machinery is critically important. In order to gain useful insight, the maintenance team must capture comprehensive data related to machinery operation and carry out a logical interpretation of the data. The conventional language of equipment components — vibration — transmits relevant information...
December 2, 2010
Catalyst recycling A new process for selectively dissolving either palladium or gold from mixed-metal catalyst systems could offer a way to improve recycling of those materials. In traditional noble-metal recycling with aqua regia (mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids), metals are often dissolved together, which introduces impurities into the recycled metals. Now scientists at the Georgia Institute of...
December 1, 2010
Next spring, Exelus, Inc. (Livingston, N.J.; plans to pilot a new process that converts crude bioethanol (beer) into Bio-Alkylate — a fuel that is chemically identical to gasoline. New Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; Washington, D.C.) call for increasing the amount of ethanol that can be added to gasoline to 15 vol.% (so-called E15...
December 1, 2010
At last month’s Sulfur 2010 Conference (November 1–4; Prague, Czech Republic), Haldor Topsøe A/S (Lyngby, Denmark; introduced its latest sulfuric-acid catalyst, VK-701 Leap5, which promises to help operators of sulfuric acid plants meet more-stringent SO2-emission limits. When used in the final pass of single absorption H2SO4 plants, VK-701 Leap5 reduces SO2 emissions by...
December 1, 2010
A demonstration plant for a biological process that produces ethanol and 2,3 butanediol (2,3-BD) from the offgases of industrial plants will be started up in the third quarter of 2011 at a steel mill operated by Bao Steel (Shanghai). Developed by LanzaTech (Auckland, New Zealand;, the process will produce about 100,000 gal/yr of ethanol from a slipstream of stack gases, says Mike...
December 1, 2010
A nanotechnology-based, bottom-up approach to synthesizing catalysts for converting natural gas to ethylene could enable an alternative to the steam-cracking of crude oil, an energy-intensive process conventionally used to produce ethylene, the world’s most valuable commodity chemical. Scientists at the startup Siluria Technologies Inc. (San Francisco, Calif.; have developed a...
December 1, 2010
A green hydrometallurgical process for recovering gold from ore, developed by Haber, Inc. (Arlington, Mass.;, may make its commercial debut in Suriname. Albert Conti, Haber’s CEO, says the Republic of Suriname has made a commitment to develop a strategic partnership with the company for the use of the process. The elimination of mercury pollution is a goal of the government in...
December 1, 2010
Professor Shu Kobayashi, University of Tokyo (Tokyo, Japan;, has discovered that bimetallic nanoclusters can catalyze the oxidation of alcohols. Kobayashi’s group has demonstrated the ability to control the reaction pathways of alcohol oxidation to aldehydes, carboxylic acids or esters using nanoclusters composed of a few to...
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